Tuesday, March 8, 2011

40 Days of Lent

What does the Bible say about Lent? Nothing as far as I am aware. Lent is something that the church – the Catholic Church I believe – initiated. If you do a search on the Internet you’ll find sites that tell you it is ordained by God and you’ll find sites that state that it is not ordained by God and therefore actually anti-Biblical. Here’s what I know about Lent.Lent lasts for 40 days from Ash Wednesday until Easter Sunday.

The word or number 40 is in the Bible 102 times. 102 times God had done some very ordinary and some very significant things with the number 40

  • It rained for 40 days and nights and the earth was flooded and destroyed (Gen Ch 7)
  • The flood continued to build and flooded the world for 40 days (Gen Ch 7)
  • Noah waited 40 days before sending out the first raven in search of land. (Gen Ch 7)
  • Abraham pleaded with God from 50-45-40-35 … and so on to spare Sodom (Gen Ch 18)
  • Isaac was 40 when he married Rebekah (Gen. 25:20) – they became the parents of Jacob and Esau
  • It took 40 days to embalm a body (Gen 50:3)
  • Moses was 40 when he killed the Egyptian (Ex 2, Act 7:23-24))
  • Moses stayed on the mountain with God for 40 days and came back down with the Ten Commandments (Ex. Ch 34)
  • Moses and his people wandered the dessert for 40 years “until the whole generation of those who had done evil in his sight was gone” (Numbers 32)
  • Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights – during this period he was tempted by Satan (Matthew Ch 4, Mark Ch 1, Luke Ch 4)
  • Paul received 40 lashes minus one (2 Cor 11)
I’m not a Biblical scholar or expert so I won’t continue on. I found a site that lists some of the more well known 40-day events Of course, the number "40" has always had special spiritual significance regarding preparation. On Mount Sinai, preparing to receive the Ten Commandments, "Moses stayed there with the Lord for 40 days and 40 nights, without eating any food or drinking any water" (Ex 34:28). Elijah walked "40 days and 40 nights" to the mountain of the Lord, Mount Horeb (another name for Sinai) (I Kgs 19:8). Most importantly, Jesus fasted and prayed for "40 days and 40 nights" in the desert before He began His public ministry (Mt 4:2).

So, as I stated briefly above, I know of Lent as a Catholic thing. I’m not Catholic so what do I know and why do I do it? Well, I went to this non-denominational church as a kid. They did a lot of Catholic traditions. It was like Catholic-lite. Plus I lived in a neighborhood where we were surrounded by Catholics. So, when everyone else was giving something up I figured I might as well too. Now, I do it because as an adult I can choose to focus on God. I can spend 40 days focusing on him and his awesomeness because I choose to. I could choose any 40 day period I suppose but I choose this 40 day period.

People fast. They give up food, drink, smoking, candy, starches, meat, etc. What am I doing? I’m doing 2 things.

First -- I am following a specific diet plan for the next 40 days. I will be following the 17 Day Diet. This diet works in phases – 17 days at a time. The first phase begins tomorrow officially. The plan includes diet and exercise guides so I’ll be doing both starting tomorrow.

Second – I will be spending an hour a day in Bible Study. I desire to do this anyway but just don’t. So I am committing to studying 1 hour each day. I have 2 study books to choose from – Esther (my personal hero) or my One Little Word – Trust.

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